You’re in Charge

Posted on October 11, 2012 by Jeff

Do you ever feel out of control?

There are days I feel that way, like I’m a small ship in the stormy ocean of life, being tossed around by whatever wave decides to smack me. There are days that in spite of my best intentions, circumstances will arise and get the best of me, sending me on a ‘flat spin’ like Maverick and Goose experienced on that fateful day at the Top Gun academy.

“I just flew through Life’s jet wash!”

When something is out of control, it is beyond our ability to change, correct, or affect. I hear people describe areas of their life that way, telling of things that could have and should have been different, but it was out of their hands.

“I totally could’ve gone pro, but coach didn’t start me in the big game.”

“I was good enough to get that record deal, but it’s all about who you know.”

“I wanted to reconcile that relationship, but they didn’t.”

“I’m only negative because of what that other person did to me.”

“I was late to work because my alarm clock didn’t go off.”

To sum up: “It was out of my control.”

It’s easier to excuse yourself from any responsibility. It’s easy to blame the other guy on the highway, rather than blaming your own lack of patience. It’s easy to blame the maker of the alarm clock rather than your sub-par ability to set said alarm clock.

Now please don’t misunderstand, I realize there are always things that happen to us that are beyond our control. Sometimes the coach doesn’t put you in the big game. I’m not questioning stuff like that. I’m saying it’s easy for us to allow our everyday lives to feel out of control, like life is happening to us, like we’re victims in our own lives, like we’re unable to change, correct or affect it. Here’s the deal ‑ life is never out of control. You may face circumstances beyond your control, even in the midst of those, the majority of your life remains under your control

You may be shocked to hear this, knowing of my smiley, bubbly personality… But there are times when someone is upset with me. Most of the time, I can trace it back to something I did, that hurt them in some way. So rather than throw my hands up thinking, “There’s nothing I can do about this situation… it’s beyond my control…” rather than excuse myself of any responsibility and place blame elsewhere, I can realize that my part in the reconciliation process is entirely up to me. I can go and make it right.

So as a side note of this blog, if you find that others don’t like you very much, it might not be a conspiracy. It might not be sin in their life. It MIGHT be that you are mistreating people and they are reacting to it. Don’t assume it is a spiritual attack when it may simply be sowing and reaping.

What is always under our control is how we respond to difficult people and difficult circumstances. And when we excuse lousy behavior in ourselves by blaming behavior of others, or bad circumstances, it’s a cop out.

You have a choice. There are things that, according to the Bible, are ALWAYS under our control. Let’s look at three of them.

First – We control WHAT WE PROCLAIM.

My tongue will proclaim your righteousness, your praises all day long. (Psalm 35:28)

Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. (1 Chr 16:23-24)

What are you talking about? What are you proclaiming? Are your words honoring to God? Is what you’re saying encouraging to others, or is it tearing them down? What if we made fewer proclamations focused on self promotion, gossip, judging others, expressing our anger and how things aren’t the way we liked, and spent more time proclaiming God’s goodness? What if instead of our words bringing others down, we focused on using our words to bring life and encouragement to those around us?

The words we speak, the proclamations we make, have power over others. They can bring life and healing or they can judge, tear down, slander and demean. Our own words have power over us as well. If you say something enough times, you’ll start to believe it.

We are the only ones who decide how we will use our words. Will we proclaim death and defeat, or will we proclaim God’s goodness, glory and salvation?

The choice is ours.

Second — We control where we SET OUR MINDS.

“Set” implies intention. Another way to say it would be to ‘exercise’ our minds. There’s discipline involved.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Col 3:1-3)

(If you’d like a long list of things you CAN control that will greatly improve your life, keep reading verses 5-17 of Colossians 3. Once you master these, then you can worry more about how others are behaving.)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Phil 4:8)

The choice is yours as to where you set your mind. This doesn’t mean that we can avoid ever having a negative, sinful thought. What this means is that we can choose where to dwell

I’m not talking about positive thinking crap, “If you think only positive thoughts, only positive things will happen to you.” That’s silly. But the Bible is clear, set your minds on things above. Think about “God things”. Think about the things that are pure, lovely and admirable. Train your mind to dwell on the good. You control where you set your mind.

Third—we control where we FIX OUR EYES.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor 4:16-18)

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. (Heb 12:1-2)

In every situation, we have the choice to where we will focus our attention, where we will fix our eyes. We can focus on the earthly, immediate and temporary or we can be Kingdom focused.

No matter what we face, our eyes should be fixed on Jesus asking of ourselves, “what does love, devotion, humility, kindness, compassion, dying to self and pursuit of Christ-likeness mean for me?” You can’t control other’s behavior (and oh how we try) but you can control your own. Bad behavior in others doesn’t justify it in you. You are responsible for being committed and devoted to the Kingdom of God, and where you fix your eyes determines how well you’ll do.

Where we fix our eyes. Where we set our minds. What we proclaim.

Turns out, there’s a lot that is under our control.